Georgiy Mamedov, Russian Ambassador to Canada –
I have a friend who is a teacher who thinks her profession is the most maligned. My brother who is in real estate thinks he takes a lot of abuse. Car salesmen have a bad rap. And we all tell lawyer jokes. But for all-out bad PR, PR practitioners sit in a class by themselves. Some of the myths about PR were established long before we even existed as a profession but as a group we have done a very poor job of realigning our positioning.
Yet again, two occasions this week brought me face-to-face with the way we are perceived. The first was a speech at The Empire Club of Canada by the Russian Ambassador, Georgiy Mamedov, who began his remarks by saying his speech wasn’t a PR effort and that he was there to tell the truth. Really? Well I won’t go into detail about the mistruths he told (nor mention that another member of the Canadian Embassy was sanctioned by Mr. Putin during his speech.) I will say, however, that I take exception to having my profession set below even his low standards of truthtelling.
The second example that snared my attention was a headline in the Toronto Star yesterday: “PR the answer to unfair elections bill.” I was all set to stomp and rage when I read on to discover that in this case PR referred to Proportional Representation;)
Okay, I can laugh at myself. But this doesn’t negate the very important point I set out to make. Truthtelling lies at the very core of good public relations activity. I don’t know any reputable practioners who do not counsel their clients against lying. Ever. Here at Jesson we take “Getting it Right” as our moniker. It applies to everything we do. But most especially truthtelling.